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Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to Control a Debt Collection Call

Getting a call from a debt collector is stressful, embarrassing and unsettling. Debt collectors are taught and trained, in fact its drilled into them, to stay in control of the call! What does this mean? It means they want to direct where the call goes, the tone of the call and they want to ask all the questions. Questions are powerful powerful tools. Many times a collector will ask a question and then simply pause and leave the debtor to stew in that uncomfortable silence. If the debtor starts to ask a question, the collector is trained to either ignore it or answer as briefly as possible giving the debtor no information and immediately redirect the conversation in the direction they want to go. A collector has many different avenues he or she can direct a call down; creation of anxiety based upon threat of litigation or economic ruin, creation of a bond through offers of assistance, creation of humiliation through stark review of the financial situation, etc. All of this is accomplished by asking the debtor questions. So what can a debtor do in the face of this well trained question asking machine? Well, take control of the call by asking questions of course. You have to be confident and professional (not arrogant, abusive or profane). Start by immediately interrupting the collector and asking what their name is again. Of course the collector identified them self at the very beginning of the call, but this allows you to thrown them off of their pre-planned pitch and allows you to start asking questions. Follow up immediately with, how do you spell that. And then; "and who do you work for and how do you spell that". Now you have seized control of the call and are obviously taking notes. If it is an inexperienced collector, they will be thrown totally off of their game. If it is an experienced collector, they will begin fighting you for control of the call. Regardless, the best way to control the call is to end the call. Ask how much the debt is, who the original creditor is and most importantly ask for contact information; what is an address I can correspond with you at and what is a phone number I can use to reach you. Immediately after you receive that information, say something to the effect that I will research this and be back in touch with you and hang up. The collector will note the contact in their database and more than likely move on to easier prey and leave you in peace for at least the time being.

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